New Zealand extends Auckland lockdown for 12 days: report

Authorities believe the outbreak is linked to shipping workers or overseas travelers

New Zealand has announced an extension to the coronavirus lockdown of its largest city as it attempts to get a handle on the first outbreak in the country in months.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said extending the Auckland lockdown, which began Wednesday, would give authorities time to get a handle on the virus cluster and isolate those infected. The lockdown will last an additoinal 12 days following the first new infection in just over 100 days.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reacts during a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Aug. 14. Ardern announced that the three-day lockdown in Auckland would be extended by another 12 days at level 3, the rest of New Zealand will stay at level 2 restrictions as health authorities investigate the source of the first domestic coronavirus outbreak in more than three months. (Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reacts during a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Aug. 14. Ardern announced that the three-day lockdown in Auckland would be extended by another 12 days at level 3, the rest of New Zealand will stay at level 2 restrictions as health authorities investigate the source of the first domestic coronavirus outbreak in more than three months. (Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said extending the Auckland lockdown, which began Wednesday, would give authorities time to get a handle on the virus cluster and isolate those infected.

Cars queue at a COVID-19 test centre in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Aug. 13. Health authorities in New Zealand are scrambling to trace the source of a new outbreak of the coronavirus as the nation's largest city goes back into lockdown. (AP Photo/Dean Purcel)

Cars queue at a COVID-19 test centre in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Aug. 13. Health authorities in New Zealand are scrambling to trace the source of a new outbreak of the coronavirus as the nation's largest city goes back into lockdown. (AP Photo/Dean Purcel)

“Together, we have got to get rid of COVID before,” Ardern said in the highly anticipated address.

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“We have kept it out for 102 days, longer than any other country," she said. "We have been world-leading in our COVID response, with the result that many lives were saved and our economy was getting going faster than almost anywhere else. We can do all of that again.”

Cars queue at a COVID-19 test centre in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 13. Health authorities in New Zealand are scrambling to trace the source of a new outbreak of the coronavirus as the nation's largest city goes back into lockdown. (AP Photo/Dean Purcel)

Cars queue at a COVID-19 test centre in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 13. Health authorities in New Zealand are scrambling to trace the source of a new outbreak of the coronavirus as the nation's largest city goes back into lockdown. (AP Photo/Dean Purcel)

The outbreak has grown to 30 people, now extending beyond Auckland for the first time.

The only known cases were travelers who quarantined after arriving from abroad.

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Health authorities believe the virus must have been reintroduced from overseas, but testing hasn’t shown a link between the virus and the quarantined travelers.

Several infections at a food storage facility prompted authorities to investigate shipping workers instead as the possible source of the new infections.

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Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said they were doing rigorous testing at Auckland’s port “as part of our investigation just to follow that chain of the Americold goods that might have come in through the port and been transported to that Mt. Wellington depot.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.